Shared Parental Leave – One year on

Friday 8 April 2016

5 April 2015 saw the introduction of the legal right for fathers to claim shared parental leave and pay with the mothers of their children. The Children and Families Act enables eligible mothers to commit to ending their maternity leave and pay at a future date and share the untaken balance of leave and pay with their partner.

The amount of shared parental leave to which an employee is entitled will depend on the amount of leave that the other parent has taken in respect of the child. The total amount of shared parental leave available is unaffected by the number of children born or expected as a result of the same pregnancy, or the number of children placed for an adoption through the same placement.

Each parent claims shared parental leave from his or her own employer. As well as satisfying an individual eligibility test, parents must satisfy a joint eligibility test for the other parent to qualify for leave.

Under reg.5(3), for the partner to be eligible to take shared parental leave, the mother must:

  • satisfy the employment and earnings test which requires that, in the 66 weeks immediately preceding the child’s expected week of childbirth, she has:
    • been engaged in employment as an employed or self-employed earner for any part of the week in at least 26 of those weeks; and
    • average weekly earnings of at least the maternity allowance threshold (£30) in any 13 of those weeks (whether or not consecutive); and
  • have main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of his or her birth (apart from the responsibility of the partner);
  • be entitled to statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance in relation to the child; and
  • have brought her statutory maternity leave to an end (and that leave remain curtailed) or returned to work before the end of her statutory maternity leave, or curtailed her statutory maternity pay period or maternity allowance period (and in either case the period remains curtailed).